“Give us, we pray, the grace to surrender to being found.”
--Richard John Neuhaus
--Richard John Neuhaus
I have had a wild morning with God. I wish I had the gift that my friend, Tess, has of putting together lots of details into a formative description ☺. I shall, however, try because it feels too important and too crazy (or wild) to not record this. I have to tell you though that stuff like this happens to me all of the time. Does that sound arrogant? Does that sound like I am special? Oh wait, I have gotten ahead of myself, have I not?
So, as you can see by looking at my new bookshelf in the sidebar, I have quite a few books that I currently have open next to my bedside. I used to be a serial reader and could/would only read one book at a time, cover to cover and then, of course, count the pages and record my accomplishment. (Can you see the performance seeking perfectionist pop through there?) Anyway, I have ceased to use that method and now find myself in the midst of all sorts of knowledge (which I love), but the main problem becomes remembering where I read something!! This post as much as anything is an attempt to record the events of the last few hours and how they have come to be my Advent focus.
Last night I finished my first read of Patti Digh’s “life is a verb” and was left with this challenge:
“What, if you did it consistently for thirty-seven days (and perhaps beyond), would create positive vibes, intentional joy, good karma, fantastic direction, and deep expansiveness in your life?...Whatever it is, however small, do it. Decide on It, the Thing You Will Do. And then, do it.”
I also decided to jump ahead and read the first day of Advent readings from “God with Us.” Here is the primary thought that I underlined :
“The great question is not whether we have found God but whether we have found ourselves being found by God.”
This morning I awoke quite early (not really my personal decision ☺) and chose to quietly read another chapter in Christine Paintner’s, “Lectio Divina” and this is what greeted me:
“Awareness of God, at its deepest level, is not so much something we do as something we are.” --William Shannon
The chapter was on 'Contemplative Awakening and Awareness' and ultimately I found myself entering into centering prayer which "Lectio Divina" points out is “a method designed to facilitate the development of contemplative prayer by preparing our faculties to receive this gift…It is at the same time a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship.”
As this post is already becoming a bit long, I will simply say my 20 minutes of centering prayer were definitely in kairos (qualitative) time versus the clock watching of chronos. It was a special time of “being” rather than “doing.” It was a time where I “found myself found by God.”
And so, upon reflection I realized that all of these little hints had been working together to offer me my discipline of Advent (which I did not even know I was looking for ☺.) And here, it is: for the next 37 days I am choosing to give myself the gift of 20 minutes of centering prayer each day. Now, here is where things get really cool. Today is November 30. There are 31 days in December and The Feast of Epiphany (the final feast day of Christmas) is on January 6—roughly speaking 37 days!!! How awesome is that?!??!?
I look forward to sharing this continuing journey with you, but mainly I look forward to the ways that I know God will surprise me (or not…I am holding lightly to expectations) over this 37 day Advent season.
Oh, I have to share one last little piece: the music. Yesterday while reading People (I’m not a spiritual diva by any means ☺), the recommendation for Enya’s “And winter came” jumped out at me. While I have been writing, I downloaded it. I was not surprised to see that the first song is “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” Can’t wait to see what else is on there!!
There you have it – my Advent beginning. What will yours be? Will you allow yourself space to be found by God? What is the gift you will give to you? How will you surrender for the next 37 days?